4. Death of a Phone

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Next stop: the check-in and weighing station

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Next stop: the check-in and weighing station. We breezed through it, skidding to the security line and sliding our shoes off and hurrying through the green-lighted gates. Finally, we got a chance to catch our breaths. Isaac hiked his backpack over his shoulders, and I looped an arm through mine as I slid my shoes back on.

"I kinda have to use the bathroom," Isaac said.

"I'm kinda hungry," I said and gave him a pointed look.

"But it's an emergency."

"Hold it."

"Ivy—"

I stood. In all honesty, I also needed to use the bathroom. I just had a better bladder. "Okay. Fine. Let's find our gate first."

"The bathrooms are right there! I don't want to pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

I rolled my eyes, holding back a new wave of potty words. "If I come out and don't see you, I'm leaving on my own."

"Fine."

We parted ways.

After locating a stall and locking the door as quickly as I could so I'd make it out before Isaac (what? He was getting annoying), I wrestled with the pile of stuff on my back.

Problem was, I had my precious phone in my hand, and right when I thought I'd successfully untangled my bag—

I dropped it.

I dropped my phone.

I dropped my OnePlus 5. My lifeline. My child.

Straight into dirty toilet water.

Last time I checked, these phones weren't waterproof. Panic settled on my bones. I wanted to fish it out. But how? No way was I touching that water. Maybe I could leave it in there and give the next person a treat. Yeah, that sounded like a great idea. If they managed to revive it, they could hack into it and get all of my personal information.

If they could revive it—then so could I.

I gave myself a one-second pep talk, rolled my sleeves back, and stuck a hand in.

It felt like normal tap water until I remembered that not only was this not tap water, it was the exact opposite.

I gagged into my sleeve. The phone was slick and shedding. I hadn't bothered to put a case on it, which was probably for the better. A case would've trapped more water.

I cupped my shaking hand around the phone to click the power button.

No luck. It was dead.

My cheeks flushed over. If Isaac found out, he'd tease me until the end of time. If Dad found out...

I stuffed it into my bag and left the stall without doing my business, except Isaac still wasn't ready. Even after The Great Catastrophe.

I sat. I waited. The airport-goers near the security area cast me weird looks, but I continued to sit and hug myself and wait. Isaac knew I was joking. I'd never leave him behind.

A few seconds hummed by.

I needed to check the time.

How was I going to check the time?

I patted my pockets, patted my thighs, stood up, sat down, and decided to head for the gate. Isaac had a brain. He wasn't that dumb.

With a final sweep of the security area, I leaped to my feet and took off without a trace.

I glanced down at my boarding pass. Gate 72. Third floor. Easy.

It wasn't easy.

I threaded through men wearing suits and neck pillows, women wearing pencil skirts and cell phones. There were kids, too: baseball caps and strollers and pajamas. Heck, I even saw a group of little ones on scooters.

After taking the escalator toward the correct ticketing location, I stopped to catch my breath and shake my head. If Isaac had been anywhere near me, I would've run up to him and started punching him immediately. No explanation. Just beat him into the ground and get out before security caught me.

Why? No reason. Maybe I was a little mad at him.

I started down the path of gates. Paddles with numbers and letters printed on them loomed from above.

71. 70. 69. I was heading in the wrong direction.

I cursed under my breath.

I made a straight three-sixty.

And I ran into someone.

Not Isaac. Definitely not Isaac.

"Sorry," I murmured as the man scoffed, rolled his eyes, and did everything adults did when they vowed to destroy the teenage legion. Or something like that.

He shuffled on without another breath.

Why was the human race turning against itself? Even if I hadn't been a teenager, I'd have received a similar response. A sigh, maybe. A shake of the head. What was so exasperating about the fun-loving, totally outgoing Ivy Byrd?

I retraced my steps.

I took a deep breath and jogged on.

I passed coffee shops, simmering in bean-grinding machines and the scent of something bitter. I passed booths that sold tourist-y Florida stuff. I also passed way too many Disney World ads. I mean, seriously. Companies needed to chill. I could barely go a week without seeing that dumb mouse.

Finally. I found our gate. I found my brother.

Were we late? Had the plane left without us?

Isaac was spinning in circles. He threw an arm up when I saw him and he saw me. I marched over.

My fists didn't move.

Lucky him.

"Where did you go?" I said, making myself sound as threatening as I could. It seemed to work. He curled into himself.

"I thought—" He fiddled with his backpack straps. "You were gone for a while, so I thought we could meet up here. I thought you'd get here eventually. And you did!"

"Our flight."

"What about our flight?"

I looked to a glaring blue board above the flight attendants' heads. The attendants stood behind a desk, speaking into phones as the rows and rows of seats in front of them remained empty.

We weren't late.

Our flight didn't leave until eight.

We were two hours early.

I smacked my forehead. "Oh my f—"

Isaac spun around, confirming the news with his own eyes:

MCO TO CPT
DIRECT FLIGHT
DEPARTURE TIME: 8:00 A.M.

In that moment, I came to a conclusion.

The life that had stabbed me in the back so many times? Yeah. I was completely and utterly in love with it.

~#~

It turns out that Laura is a big fat liar! Yippee!

Thankfully, Ivy's phone didn't die for nothing. She repurposes it later, which means I had to watch a lot of OnePlus 5 teardown videos. Very entertaining. 10/10 would recommend.

Thanks for reading, and, as always, please vote if you enjoyed!

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